So you are probably wondering to yourself right at this moment how the heck the hip can affect the knee and cause knee pain when it is so far away. Well…you would be VERY surprised just how large of an affect it can have!
How the hips can affect the knees and cause pain
There are many ways having weak hips may affect the knees, but in this post I am going to discuss 3 problems that occur due to weak glutes and quads. From having weak glutes, one may become knock-kneed. Having weak quads and glutes may lead to knee buckling and knee hyperextension too.
How having weak glutes leads to knock-knees
When you first touch your foot on the ground and bare weight while taking a step, you need strong glute muscles to stabilize your hips. If they are weak, your legs may fall inwards and you will wind up like the guy below overt time.
Strong gluteal muscles will resist the legs going into a knock-kneed position. Weakness in these muscles may cause damage over time to things such as the medial collateral ligament in the knee, damage the joint where the kneecap travels up and down the femur, damage the meniscus and entrap nerves.
How having weak glutes and quads leads to knee buckling
While you are walking and baring weight on the ground, with each step you take, your quads and gluteal muscles are resisting the force of each step. This is important because by doing this, you are prevented from falling down on the ground! Your quads work to extend your knees straight, and your glutes (primarily glute max) work to extend your hips back. If both muscles are strong, your tendency to flex your knees, hips, and body downward while stepping on the ground will be properly resisted. If these muscles are weak, you may wind yourself buckling at the knees while walking.
How having weak glutes and quads can lead to knee hyperextension
As I mentioned above, weak glutes and quads can lead to your knees buckling while walking. If these muscles are weak, the hamstring muscles may dominate and take over, causing extension of the knees while walking and pulling it backwards. Weakness of the glutes and quads, with dominance of the hamstrings over time will lead to your knees hyperextending, or being overly straightened to the point where your knee is curved back. This can cause problems with your ACL and lead to maltracking of the kneecap, along with other issues.
So now you know some of the consequences that may be caused by weak quads and glutes. So I encourage you to not neglect these muscles and to keep them strong! With good form, squats are an amazing exercise to work out those two muscle groups.
1. Powers, C.M. The Influence of Abnormal Hip Mechanics on Knee Injury: A Biomechanical Perspective. Journal of Orhopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy.
2010; 40(2): 42-51.